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a gentle january & a celebration

My wish for you.

Hello again! And a happy and gentle new year to you. After a long and very restful break from work over the twelve days of Christmas, I am back in my studio and glad to be sending out this missive to you…

After a lovely, ease~ful Christmas with family…

…our long, holiday rest included our first snow…

…lots of reading by the fire and watching on the cosy sofa…

…and gratefulness for the wintery light of all kinds, twinkling on tree branches, falling on old floors and walls…and firelight and candlelight, always…

There were many quiet and introspective hours (and more to come) spent with notebooks and papery bits…

…and delectable Christmas treats…

…and the New Year was seen in simply and deliciously…

And here I find myself on the twelfth day of January, Christmas mostly put away, the blooming paperwhites placed here and there for fragrance and beauty…a few days into our Gentle January and growing peace and clarity in my home and my mind…and quiet joy to be celebrating this…

I had no inkling when the idea came to me in late 2011, and I opened the doors on January 14th of 2012, that Wisteria & Sunshine would still be here ten years along. There was nothing like it online at the time, and we’ve been through many incarnations over the years, but it remains a beautiful, quiet, inspiring place to belong to. There are many other private gatherings on the interwebs now, but I take heart in the messages I receive from members about the particular value of our peaceful rooms.

This is especially good to know because I can’t imagine not continuing to tend and create there, even when I flirt with the idea of retirement in other ways! : ) So, I am grateful, happy and looking forward to another year there of sharing my life, my ways and my heart in this confusing world. And I thought I would share the post I wrote there a few years ago, as it gives a glimpse of what it is like within our doors and it expresses all that I am feeling as our anniversary approaches.

If you would like to join me, as we continue our Gentle January, I’ve created a discount for new members. Clicking the banner below will take you to the signup page where there are all the details you could wish for about the coupon and joining…

This was written in 2018…

Some glimpses from my days this week past. In the way of life, there were moments of such clearness, satisfaction and growth…

…and then it all swirled into muddiness yesterday. And who can explain this so familiar pattern? Not I, tho’ I more and more quickly accept it, knowing it is natural, perhaps even scientific…but I let it remain a mystery.

Something comes along, a rock thrown in the clear pool, and if there is muck or tangled old grass there, it is stirred and the clarity is gone. The rock, the stone, the pebble may come from within or without, but I don’t spend much time pondering it anymore, knowing that all that is stirred will settle again, and I will be able see where I am again…

…the house will swing back to the other side of chaos…and my days…

It is the way of things. It is the weather of our womanly lives, or our seasons, or our own phases of the moon. Truly, all of them together and more besides…

And when it isn’t feeling otherwise, it feels such a gift, a privilege. And I am realizing that moving through these seasons…the ones within us and around us…whilst keeping or always finding again our peace and wisdom, our caring our ourselves, our loved ones and our earth that carries and keeps us all…that is the heart of Wisteria & Sunshine.

I didn’t really know this when I began. I thought it was more about tending our homes more thoughtfully and deeply, sharing our love of books and poetry, discovering together more simplicity, honoring the circle of the year and banner days within that circle…and it is all of that. But it’s grown to be so much more. Because you came and continue to come…because we keep opening to the lessons of this particular time in humankind’s journey…and to those of our own hearts and bodies and lives.

We’ve celebrated before…and sometimes not. Some years I haven’t even remembered our anniversary, but I’ve been watching this one coming for awhile. Six years feels substantial, like a house that has settled in, layered with the spirit of all the conversations around the table, the afterglow of candles lit and fires read by, the breadcrumbs left by each picture placed the wall and each cosy spot created.

I am feeling humble and happy and quietly excited about our adventures ahead. Adventures that one of our first members described this way…

“I should also like to set out upon this journey, this amazing adventure … to share, and discover, to honour our earth, our home, our lives, with the love and care they deserve.”

Hoping you feel the same…

xo

If you are still reading, I’ll let you know that I will have a new film up at my you~tube channel later today (with glimpses of my Gentle January) and another later in the month sharing the beauty of the snow we had a week ago. I took so many films of during the snowfall and the cosiness inside that I couldn’t fit it all in one film!

xo

Lesley

pine cone days…

These early December days are always as autumnal as they are Christmasy…here. But I am now really beginning the lovely work of bringing Christmas in, to our home and to my heart. It’s best for me when this goes slowly and steadily, and so it seems to be this year. Yesterday I spent most of the day creating cozy posts to see Wisteria & Sunshine through most of the rest of the week, so I may spend some days simply pottering about, in a festive December way. And also because I will probably get my booster on Friday and know that may send me to the sofa for a few days.

For the past few weeks I’ve been reading the journal of the artist Emily Carr. She was so unusual, warm, honest and delightful and I am going to miss her presence in my days. She really struggled with the Christmas season while she was still constrained by traditions and pressures outside herself. As she went deeper into her sixties, tho’, she let much of that go, and this passage from her journal of nineteen thirty-seven speaks of the spirit of the season I am gently working towards…

“There is great peace in the cottage this morning. Louise is very busy “lining up” so that she can get away early for all day. Alice and I Christmased yesterday. We had a tiny tree in a flowerpot on the table and the presents round it. In the other window burned three red candles in my old red Swedish candlestick. Louise cooked good turkey and plum pudding and brandy sauce. There was a dandy fire. The lovebirds, chipmunks, and dogs and we ate, enjoyed, and were thankful.”

…and my wish for you is that you may find and make and feel the spirit you are hoping for…this December and always.

xo

Lesley

P.S. There are many more glimpses of my first week of December in my latest film. I hope to make one for each week in December. If you subscribe to my channel and set your settings in you~tube to email when channels you subscribe to have something new, you will know just as soon as they come out.